UK approves nuclear plant deal

The United Kingdom has given the go head for a new 18 billion pounds nuclear power station, after imposing “significant new safeguards” for future projects.

The new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is being financed by the French and the Chinese.

In exchange, China wanted to use its design for new UK nuclear stations.

However, the government said it would now “impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain’s critical infrastructure.”

Rising cost
Critics of the deal have warned of escalating costs and the implications of nuclear power plants being built in the UK by foreign governments. France’s EDF, which provides energy for homes and businesses in the UK, is funding two-thirds of the project, with China investing the remaining £6bn.

The Chinese agreed to take a stake in Hinkley and at Sizewell in Suffolk on the understanding that the UK government would approve a Chinese-led and designed project at Bradwell in Essex, which has raised questions over national security.

In a statement, the government said: “After Hinkley, the British Government will take a special share in all future nuclear new build projects. This will ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the Government’s knowledge or consent.”

It added: “There will be reforms to the government’s approach to the ownership and control of critical infrastructure to ensure that the full implications of foreign ownership are scrutinised for the purposes of national security.”

Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government’s agreement.

“Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.”

The decision on investment was approved by EDF’s board in July and was agreed in principle with China during the state visit by President Xi Jinping to the UK in October 2015.